08 with no Texan in Presidential race

Carl Leudsdorf:

For the first time in a half-century, Texas looms as a nonplayer in the 2008 presidential race.

To be sure, prospective candidates are visiting the state to help raise the millions it takes to run for the White House. Veteran Texas strategists will figure in several campaigns. But that's likely to be the sum of the Texas role in choosing a successor to George W. Bush.

Barring an unlikely vice presidential selection, the state has no candidates for either national ticket. The strongly Republican tilt of recent years means Democrats are unlikely to spend much time and money contesting the state's 34 electoral votes.

And the revised Democratic Party calendar means that, barring unexpected changes, the state once again will have little or no influence in picking the candidates.

All of this marks a dramatic change for Texas over the prevailing practice of the past 50 years. Four candidates with strong Texas ties - Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and the two George Bushes - have won the presidency, Lloyd Bentsen ran for vice president, and every election saw at least one Texan in a major role.

In fact, 2008 would be the first presidential campaign year since 1952 in which there won't be a single Texan serving as a major player, either as a presidential or a vice presidential candidate, or in the way the late John Connally helped Richard Nixon win the 1972 race.


Other than that, the only potential factor that could add to the state's long list of candidates would be if the 2008 GOP nominee picked a Texan, most likely Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, as his vice presidential running mate.

Her name could come into play as one of the GOP's most highly regarded women officeholders if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York wins the Democratic presidential nomination.

Otherwise, there would seem little reason to choose a Texan for either ticket. The Democrats, shut out in recent years from statewide offices, have no prospective national candidates. And the fact that the state has become so reliably Republican means the GOP probably will look elsewhere to bolster its electoral chances.


There is some more Texas presidential ticket history in the story. I thing the chances of Kay Bailey Hutchison being on the ticket are remote, and I do not think she would have mcuh interest anyway. The lack of a strong presents in national affairs is highlighted by the fact that the Texas governors race this year will have two independents in it that will probably out poll the Democrat candidate and take some votes from Governor Rick Perry. Perry really has not done that bad a job, but he has not had many opportunities to show leadership and when he has, the legislature has not followed.

Update: I think he forgot about 1996 when Dole and Kemp headed the Republican ticket. It was a pretty forgettable ticket, but neither had a Texas connection, unless you count some of Kemp's Buffalo Bills games against the Oilers.


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